Tea Love: Instilling a Love of Tea, One Sip At A Time

Posts tagged ‘Coffee’

Cheating, But Addicted

Since I started this blog a few years ago, that’s how people know me – “You’re the tea girl!” “I have a question about tea.” “What are your thoughts on bagged versus loose tea?” “What kind of tea do you like?”

I have gotten tea-related gifts galore, some of which I use during my Tea Love talks.   One person gave me a huge package of blooming tea and a glass teapot.   My sister-in-law gave me a tea strainer with a duck at the top.   One of my friends, for Christmas, gave me a TARDIS tea mug and my parents gave me a TARDIS tea strainer to go with it from the popular television series Dr. Who (which, by the way, features tea an awful lot).

Coworkers delight in sending me tea-related articles and info-graphs constantly.   One time, my coworker walked in on me and another colleague exchanging loose tea from a Florida shop, something that apparently looked more like an illicit drug deal rather than a friendly beverage exchange.

So, you can only imagine people’s reactions when I walk around with a cup of coffee in hand, which is honestly more often than not.

“Wait, you’re drinking coffee?   Isn’t that, ya know, sacrilege or something?”

“But, but, but, you’re the tea girl!”

“Ha, betraying your drink, huh?”

Wow…

I adore tea, I really do.   Addicted to it, I would even venture to say.   Given the choice of only drinking one beverage for the rest of my life, I would say tea (arguably, more than one beverage simply because of the vast array of choices).   But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like a cuppa joe every now and again.   Actually, most times I write my blog, I am drinking *gasp* coffee (as I am right now).

That being said, what I convey to people is the difference between drinking coffee and drinking tea (and yes, there is a huge difference).   When I am drinking tea, it is at the end of a long day, at the beginning of the morning’s first ray of sun when I can settle down and read a book, after I had done a massive cleaning of my house, while I am crafting.   In short – while I am relaxing.

Coffee, however, is for days like today, when I went to sleep around 2:00 AM last night, only to wake up at 6:30 AM this morning to shower and get ready for a beach trip with my boyfriend and his family, or for when I have twenty 100-page items to edit by the end of the day at work, or for when I know I need to hit the ground running and not even think about relaxing.   It’s for my hectic lifestyle which admittedly, is very quick-paced and does not allow me too many opportunities to settle down and relax.

So, to all you tea drinkers, I lift my mug to you, and to all coffee drinkers, I do the same.   You’ll just have to wonder what’s in my mug at the time.

 

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Experiences With Tea

 

 

As far as tea goes, most people know I am a tea addict.   Whether it be someone that I have known for years or someone that I have just met, the first thing that they learn is that I love my tea.

My Jasmine Green Tea With Some Green Tea Ice Cream for Lunch Yesterday

My Jasmine Green Tea With Some Green Tea Ice Cream for Lunch Yesterday

With that being said, what is the big deal with tea?   Why love tea any more than coffee?   Admittedly, I go through periods where I tend to drink more coffee than tea.   Wouldn’t it make sense to have a vibrant, zealot obsession with coffee instead?

The fact of the matter is, tea and I have had some wonderful experiences together and continue to do so.   I’m in awe over how much tea has helped me in my personal life, compared to coffee, which likes to give me heart burn and heart palpitation.

So, this is a personal post, a “memoir” of why exactly I am so obsessed with tea.

***

I remember, as a child, being at my church at Coffee Hour.   Adults mulling around, sipping from Styrofoam cups as they asked each other what they thought of the sermon, chatted about what the kids were up to, and lamented over not knowing what to cook for dinner that night.

I would watch the older women, usually in their seventies or eighties, go over to the hot water urn, pour out their scalding water, and grab a little yellow and white bag.   Curious, I went over and saw they were brewing bag after bag of Lipton’s tea.   Well, of course, just like every other little girl, I had my own hot pink and purple plastic tea set that I used to play with and, wanting to be an “adult,” I grabbed a cup of tea for myself.

hated it!   It was bitter and funny-tasting.   But, not wanting to waste anything (nasty-tasting tea included), I doused it with milk and sugar and soon found it appealing.

As time went on, my tea versus milk and sugar ratio decreased, and soon, I was enjoying a cup of unadulterated black tea.

Time past and my love for tea remained surprisingly stable.   I dabbled, I sipped, but never really heavily drank.   For me, it was still milk, water, and juice.

Then, I was introduced to the Asian Food Market in Green Brook, New Jersey.   The grand array of boxes of 25-100 bags of tea, flavored past my wildest dreams in all different forms.   There were plum teas, green teas, hibiscus teas and white teas.   I witnessed loose tea, tea bags, powdered teas.   the whole thing astounded me.   I bought a few teas that I knew I would not find elsewhere and brought them home.

Soon, tea became my relaxer, my comforter, my Zen.   When I was depressed, the tea pot would boil.   Every time, like clockwork, after cleaning my house from top to bottom and completing heavy work, I would light a sweet-smelling candle and sip on some tea as I embroidered and watched my favorite TV shows.   Tea was rarely used in the morning; it was not meant to wake me.

Not only would tea be used to relax me, I would use it before I turned to medicines when I got sick (which is rare, since I hardly get sick).   Normally, I do not need to turn to pills.   Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t, but it definitely was worth it to me.

My knowledge for tea expanded the more I drank it.   Why did the rice tea make my mouth dry?   Why did some tea taste bitter when I brewed it for too long?   Soon, I wanted to write a book on tea.   I started exploring different teas and sampling different tea places, including Tea Spot, InsaniTea, and Teavana.   My obsession for tea grew.

Not only that, my passion to share tea with others grew.   On October 20, 2011, I posted my first blog post and quickly became known as “the tea girl” among friends, family and acquaintances.   When a co-worker went to the hospital, she was overjoyed to find a tin of matcha tea on her desk when she came back and we formed a quick bond.   Another co-worker was excited when I introduced her to the world of loose teas.   My friend’s daughter requested that I make her a custom Tea Love necklace for her birthday.   Friends who suddenly became homeless, lost, or depressed knew that they could come to my house for a warm bed and a hot cup of tea while they worked to get their lives back together.

My love for tea has not died and my quest to learn will never end.   No matter how many times I have read how tea came into being, I will always listen to a new story, hoping to gain a new insight or learn a new passion for the beverage.   I can’t become a tea snob and hope to never be, as that would close me off from the “more common” teas that can still cause a tingling pleasure throughout my being.

***

This is a short “memoir” into my love of tea.   I welcome you to share why you drink tea, why you love it and what memories you would like to share of the drink.   Most of all, I welcome you to keep drinking in good health.

 

 

Tea Versus Cofee, Part Two

I have written blogs about tea versus coffee in the past, citing their origin, their caffeine dosage and the different health benefits.

Someone has picked up on my blog about that and posted an awesome Infograph, explaining all about tea versus coffee in a great picture that I had to share!

Make sure to go visit Coffee Grounds to Ground and like the page!   Sure, it’s coffee, but you know, they did also talk about tea 🙂

Enjoy!

Isn't This Infograph Awesome?

Isn’t This Infograph Awesome?

Original Infograph can be found at :

http://tiny99.com/288992

Demand A Free Refill!

Coffee drinkers don’t know how fortunate they are.   Go into a restaurant and order a cup of joe, you get free refills.   Sometimes you also get to have various flavors and new concoctions, complete with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle.

Tea, however, seems to have made some enemies somewhere along the line.   A $1.25 cup of tea usually comes with a single Lipton bag and a cup of lukewarm water.   When you decide to have more than one cup, start digging through your wallet again.   Either you get a cup of water sans new tea bag or you get to buy another cup of $1.25 tea.

The Coffee Matron Dolling Out Her Caffeine

The Coffee Matron Dolling Out Her Caffeine

Anyone see an issue here?

You can get a box of 100 tea bags for $18.   That averages out to 18 cents per bag.   Boiling water, I am not going to even try to calculate.   Why not have everyone pay $1.75 for a cup of tea and unlimited refills with a new tea bag!   Why is this such a revolutionary thought?

This is not a new issue.   Traveling around the internet, you can find blogs and even editorials regarding the topic (though I must disagree with “Dear Abby” on this one; restaurants that I’ve been to typically do not give free refills on hot tea).   And yet, it seems like as much as people moan and groan about the topic, nothing has changed.

I can understand if tea were a popular beverage in the States (though I couldn’t understand by much).   After all, that can cause quite the strain on the pocketbook depending on the size of the restaurant.

However, when I go into Chili’s or Applebees and have to pay $3 because I had two cups of tea?   And usually small cups, at that!   That is frustrating.

When I go into cafes, I tend to gravitate towards the tea because usually, cafes serve higher-end brands like Mighty Leaf.   However, going into a restaurant, I tend to get coffee.   Free refills instead of paying $3 for two small cups of Lipton’s tea.

If you go into a restaurant and have to wrestle a new tea bag out of your server, first, do not take it out on the server.   However, don’t be afraid to motion the manager over and ask why you have to pay for a new tea bag.   Mention the cost of tea and, if you want, even bring a receipt for a box of tea as reference.   Ask what would happen if you brought in your own tea bag.   Talk to the manager.   Quiz them on their business choice.   Be understanding of the chains, though.   Sometimes, the manager’s hands are tied by corporate.   Then, just move your arguments up a notch.

Maybe one day, we’ll have the luxury of ordering two cups of tea for $1.25, just like those coffee drinkers.

The Great Tea And Coffee Debate

I must admit, as much as it pains me to say this, I do drink coffee.   It feels like a betrayal, cheating on my love of tea but there are times when simply, I cannot wake up.   At this moment, I have a cup of coffee by my side to stay awake and meet with friends later.   Coffee is my pick-me-up.   Tea is my meditation.

Now, there are plenty of benefits for both drinks.   But who honestly is the true winner?   If you ask The Color of Tea, neither.   Both have separate benefits.   But let’s compare the two drinks and I will let you decide in the comments!

Where does it come from?

Coffee: Coffee comes from the coffee seed (not the bean, which is a misnomer), originated in Yemen.

Tea: Tea, as we well know from my blog on the history of tea, comes from a plant called the Camellia sinensis from China.

What’s the origin story?

Coffee: Coffee, like tea, does not have a concrete origin story.   One legend believes that Sufi mystic Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin saw some very energetic birds flying about.   Upon sampling the berries that the birds were feasting on, he found the coffee seed.

Another story states that Sheik Abou’l Hasan Schadheli’s disciple, Omar, found the beans and tried to eat them.   When he found them to be bitter, he roasted them.   That did not help so he boiled them.   When he boiled them, he saw that it created a brown liquid and sampled some and discovered coffee.

Yet another account says that young goat herder Kaldi saw his hyper flock chewing on the berries.   Naturally curious, he chewed on a few himself and, upon finding himself energized, brought it to the Muslim holy man.   The holy man disapproved and threw them into the fire, causing a pleasing aroma.   The other holy men followed the smell, raked the berries from the embers and boiled them to produce the first cup of coffee.

Tea: When Emperor Shen Nong, who was well-known for his knowledge of both agriculture and medicine, was resting and boiling water one day, he saw a leaf fall into his drink.   Rather than toss out that water and boil a new batch, he decided to try this gold liquid, producing the first cup of tea.

How are they made?

Coffee: Coffee berries are picked and roasted depending on what the manufacturer wants to produce.   From there, they can be ground and boiled for your enjoyment.   You can also eat some delicious chocolate-covered coffee berries, if you so choose.

Tea: Tea will vary depending on what the manufacturer would like but typically, the leaves are picked, wilted, oxidized, bruised and packaged.

How much caffeine is there in each drink?

*Note* Caffeine is an important topic.   If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, please look up caffeine content of all drinks.

Coffee: Coffee is well-known for its caffeine content and, if you are like me, you more drink it to stay awake more than anything else.   Coffee, depending on the cup, can range anywhere from 0 mg (when drinking decaf) up to 200 mg for a generic brew.

Tea: Tea also varies for caffeine content.   While a “pure” tea (that with the camellia sinensis plant), will always have caffeine, you can opt for an herbal tea that does not have any caffeine.   However, a cup of tea can go up to 61 mg for a black tea brew.

What are the health benefits?

Coffee: Coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, gallstones and type 2 diabetes!   However, keep in mind that too much can raise blood pressure and cause the case of the jitters, so drink in moderation.

Tea: Tea has many health benefits depending on the tea.   They can help with everything from weight loss to pregnancy.   However, it is not firmly proven that tea does perform all these benefits, so please bear that in mind.

And now, I pose the question to you.   Which is better, tea or coffee?

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